Most leaders think in big picture; they think 5 years down the road. The issue with that is many of the people they lead do not think that way. The business owners may be leading people who think of right now, right here, or maybe 6 months down the road.
Leaders and business owners think in the future because they tend to be visionaries and futuristic. However, leaders must remember that their team will need guidance to get to the vision of the future they already hold. Sometimes leaders can explain their vision, but often there’s a key role that is needed in smaller businesses.
Enter the Translator
You see this guy? Rubbing his temples in frustration? I would guarantee this business owner DOES NOT have a translator on his team.
A translator for a business owner goes by many names. Integrator. VP. The right-hand. Executive. Chief. They are the ones who can take what’s in the mind of the business owner and translate it for everyone else. They speak both the language of the leader as well as the language of the team. These translators know how to ask both the right questions and how to interpret the answers in a way that moves the company forward.
How Do You Know You Need A Translator?
If you often talk about really big picture things, and your team looks at you confused. If in personal conversations you have people say, “Wait, how did we get to that point?” I like to call it going from A to Z without sharing the letters in between.
What a translator does is helps get rid of that confusion. They help fill in all those other letters for the rest of the team. If you do find that things get done towards your vision, you often have a translator on your staff who is making it happen. Identify that person and work more closely with them. Let them into the way you think a bit more, because they’ll be better at making your visions become reality.
Spinning Your Wheels?
If you don’t have one, you’re likely spinning your wheels and wondering why your team isn’t implementing a plan or a new strategy. It’s because you haven’t effectively told them what to do to get there.
The leader is often the one who sees the vision, can describe it clearly, and has some ideas about how to get there, but isn’t the one who puts together the concrete plan – at least not by themselves.
Your translator is the one who gathers all the materials and resources (people, software, etc.) needed to paint that picture, and decides what part of that picture gets painted first, then second.
Many Names, One Focus
Translator. Integrator. Chief. Right-Hand. This person has many names, but their most important job duty is often translating for the business owner. If you have a translator on your team, definitely recognize this and work more closely with them. If you don’t have one yet, you may want to find one – even if it’s a part-time or contract position.
At the end of the day, if you’re a futuristic visionary as most business owners are, having a translator on your team can help you communicate your vision more effectively.